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Tuesday, July 23, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Freddie Gray Murder Trial Put Back on Track

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (CN) - A Baltimore police officer charged in the death of Freddie Gray must testify against his fellow officers facing related charges, Maryland's highest court ruled Tuesday.

William Porter had been the first to face a jury in connection Gray's death, but the 26-year-old officer's manslaughter trial ended in late December with a hung jury.

With prosecutors seeking to have Porter testify in the upcoming murder trial of his fellow officer, Caesar Goodson, Porter argued at a hearing last week that the orders trampled constitutional safeguards against self-incrimination.

Maryland's Court of Special Appeals affirmed Tuesday that Porter must testify against Goodson and Sgt. Alicia White, a Baltimore City Police Department supervisor on the day of Gray's arrest.

Originally slated for jury selection in January, Goodon's trial has been on hold pending Porter's appeal.

Chief Judge Mary Ellen Barbera remanded the Goodson and White's cases back to Baltimore City Circuit court for trial with a brief order but promised an opinion in the case will follow.

Prosecutors have offered Porter partial immunity to testify, saying none of the statements he makes in the trials will be used against him when his next trial kicks off in June.

The state says Porter's testimony is critical to their case because he was present for almost the entire length of Gray's ride to the police station after his April 12 arrest - a six-stop journey during which the 25-year-old suffered a critical spinal cord injury that led to his death.

In addition to Porter, Goodson and White, the state has also charged Lt. Brian Rice and Officers Edward Nero and Garrett Miller on Gray's death. The defendants have all pleaded not guilty and are free on bonds.

Chief Judge Barbera signed a separate order Tuesday affirming that Porter must testify against these three as well.

It is not clear whether Porter's attorneys, Gary Proctor and Joseph Murtha, will seek intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Barry Williams has a gag order in place that bars the attorneys from speaking about the case.

With the trials initially scheduled to run though the winter and spring, it is uncertain how the appeal has affected that timeline.

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